Who makes a good, big cheap steamer???

Discussion in 'HO Scale Model Trains' started by jon-monon, Nov 13, 2002.

  1. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    What's the best bang for the buck?

    I love the class J's but dunno if I want any passenger service (customers are such a pain to deal with, employees are bad enough).

    Is there something out there for under a $100?

    Under 75?


  2. Topo

    Topo Member

    A good steamer under $50??? Yeah. Sure... (Hey, that joint smells good. Please, pass it :p :D :D )

    Well, I have seen in Toy Train Heaven ( http://www.toytrainheaven.com/ ) the following:

    -Proto 2000 'Heritage' 0-8-0 at $159.95 (nice model)
    -Bachmann Spectrums J-class and 2-10-0 both at $89.95 (don't know how they are)

    ...and if you are real cheap,
    -Bachmann Plus GS-4 at $59.95 (I have one of these and it is, well, cheap...:rolleyes: )
  3. Gary Pfeil

    Gary Pfeil Active Member

    I don't think good and cheap belong in the same sentence when talking about steam. Big steam no less. I think the best deal is the Bachmann2-8-0. Of course that isn't big steam. I've never been a fan of Rivirossi but then again I only knew their old stuff. Their flanges are smaller now and I think the drives are ok, I understand the electrical pickup leaves something to be desired. The Bachmann Northerns are just ok as runners but look good and can be had for $60. I won't recommend Athearn, poorly distributed weight hampers their tractive effort. The LifeLike steam is all good, but not cheap.

  4. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    Jon, I for one know you're not smoking anything because I found several good steamers for around $50.
    I'm the type of guy who likes to see the overall effect of a layout and trains which work. Long gone are the days when I would fork out $150 for a locomotive as basically they are all made in much the same way, so, if one HO manufacturer sells his for around $50 how can another justify his $150 price tag?

    Jon, if you are close to a hobby store I suggest you ask the owner to run one or three of those "cheap" steamers from IHC. You will be surprised at how smoothe AND quiet they are. The Bachman 0-6-0 with Vanderbuilt tender is a sheer delight in operation although it lacks a proper Walshaerts valve gear.

    I have been through the phase of wanting "the best" and have 4 brass locos. At an average price of $330 each they are the apex of scale models, but are unnecessary unless you go in for museum quality modelling and close-up photography.

    I often wonder about the sanity of those who would pay some of the asking prices for locos OR rolling stock these days.

    All in all, as it's everyones right to seek happiness, it's really horses for courses. If you have the green stuff, go ahead and buy your dream locos. As for me, I'll stick to that which works well and looks good too without making me doubt my own sanity.

    BTW, I love your teeny bashed switchers, which, if they run good are every bit as satisfying to see working as a $200+ Rivarossi hinged loco.

  5. NYCentral

    NYCentral Member

    Well if you want a good steamer under $50 I would agree with the IHC's they are decent for the price. The Bachmann's are also nice steamers for the money. More expensive than the IHC's but they do make a nice steamer.:cool:
  6. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hey Jon, Take a look at some MDC/Roundhouse kits. They don't have any really big steamers but built right and they run good and you can add as much or as little detail as you want.

    BTW...I can remember when Woolworth's had the Rivarossi Big Boy for $39.95:eek: :D :D :D
  7. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah


    If it's cheap you want, this week Canadian Tire is selling a train set (steamer+tender, gondola, track) for 4.99 (marked down from 14.99). All prices in Canadian $$.
    Looks like HO. Looks like nothing on earth.
  8. t. alexander

    t. alexander Member

    jon, I'm sure you have already checked ebay's offerings, but just in case, There seems to always be a Rivarrosi BigBoy up for grabs. Who knows you might catch everybody in the world snoozing in those critical final 10 seconds. :rolleyes: :D

  9. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Thnx fer the tips gang!

    t., you ain't kidding check out the times on this bid history (guess who won :D :D :D ) I'm watching 30 switchers.

    6, thnx fer the lead, but I think I'll save that 4.99 for another cheap switcher. I won 5 or 6 for under $5 this week :D :D :D

    Vic, I thinnk from what you all say the MDC is the way to go for shays, and I'll probably follow NYC's and Errols advice and look at IHC or maybe a bach. I might just go for that J class. Love the looks of the shiny one ;) What's your opinion on the RTR vs. a kit on the shays?

    Errol, please watch your language (Walshaerts) and if I can't pronounce it, I don't need it :D :D :D

    Gary, I know what you're sayin' but I don't really need a great runner, or a super detailed one either. It won't be primary motive power, we're phasin 'em, it's the 50's now and we're movin' on. :D :D :D

    Topo, LOL, no joints here man. Were high on genuine 70's dain bramage and don't need that crap :D :D :D I don't really mind spendin' more, just want to know what I need to spend.
  10. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

    Hey jon,
    I have 2 IHC's and am pretty OK with them. The 3-pole motors
    jitter a little at very slooow speed but that seems to be improving with age.
    I also have a Genesis Mikado which has somewhat better detail, also has a little gear noise which I hope will get quieter. The Athearn has no tender pickups, don't quite understand why.
    From what I've read, the RTR Shays (MDC) have a different (better) 5-pole motror than the kits. It seems like the first thing reccomended to do with the kit is trash the drive , re-motor and re-gear!!
    I'm going with the RTR when I spring for one. I called MDC to ask about the DRGW 2-truck Shay and they admitted there's no protype, it's just a popular style and color. I guess I'm going for one of those "Bumblebees" anyway, I appreciated their candor!
    OK, that's all I know..........
  11. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Tanks, Cid, sound like RTR is the way to go. Remotor and gear probably costs as much as the savings. The kit sounds like pain without gain :)
  12. Vic

    Vic Active Member

    Hi Jon, I haven't had my hands on the RTR shay but I've heard that its pretty good. There's a thread on here called "everybody loves a shay" that shows a modified MDC shay that I did but like you said.....I spent as much on the parts as I did on the the kit:D :eek: but it was worth it :) The orginal shay kit was a @#$%@ to get to run right :eek: :D
  13. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    That's One Sweet Pea Vic!

    Hey Vic, if you had it to do over, would you go for the RTR and bash it or start with the kit?
  14. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    Ouch !! Hey! who drove that stake through my heart!!!:D :D :D :D

    (fast forward to four bottles of scotch later),

    Jon's teeny bashed switchers are kind of neat, but then, you know I'd articulate("hinge") an 0-4-0 if I could figure out how to keep it on the rails.

    If you are "phasing them out", and want to put a couple on the rip track, all rusted out, and being converted to scrap, you might consider the Monogram "snap together" Big Boy, and Hudson kits.
    they aren't that expensive, and the detail is actually rather good.
    Bowser even recommended the Big boy tender shell to go with their Big boy, and produced a conversion kit to provide electrical pickup.
  15. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Hey Pete, you have to read the fine print "if they run good" the smaller they are the harder to get any weight. I got the 15 T mack on the track yesterday eve, and it was quite commical. It pulled the "shack on a raft" project around OK, once it got rollin' but it had trouble pullin a gondo :D :D :D maybe I can stick a BB under the "hood" on both ends :D :D :D

    Thanks for the tip, that's a great idea! I think I want a running large steamer, at least larger than an 0-6-0, but I'll need to start scrappin' out some of them :D :D :D I think I have to get my priorities right; I'll get the shay first. We need that baby up in the mountains showin' the diesels how it's done! Come to think of it, we need the get mountains!
  16. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    Hey jon-
    Two of these should do it. :D :D :p :p :p :D :D :D ;)

    Attached Files:

  17. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Marty you could probably pull half the plug wires on that thing and still get more ponies out of it than the original 15 T Mack! :D :D :D [​IMG]
  18. marty w.

    marty w. Member

    That's a neat pic.
  19. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Most of the old switcher models are not very accurate at all, but it's amazing how accurate that $10 Mack kit is. Almost perfect. Of course, the gandy dancer as apower truck wrecks the under side, but it's still an outstanding representation. LOL, looking at the picture, I just realized I forgot to put the foot hoops on. I bet they're in my scrap bin :D :D :D Immagine how fun it would be to drive around in one of those...
  20. kettlestack

    kettlestack Member

    I'm sorry Jon, I should have said steam sequencing rods and thingies that makes recirocation acheivable. :rolleyes: :D

    Oh my goodness Pete, how could I possibly have been so insensitive about them hinged (did you say locomotives? .. hmmmm). I'm shipping 4 bottles of malt to you (in lieu of valium) by Gauge Box, just hope Tazzie don't find them first! :D


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